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Cablegate: International Parental Child Abduction Pressed

VZCZCXRO3392
OO RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHC #6450 1222201
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O P 012155Z MAY 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 3957
INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA PRIORITY 0794
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA PRIORITY 0344
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA PRIORITY 0935
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE PRIORITY 3285
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO PRIORITY 0719

UNCLAS STATE 046450

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC PGOV PREL JA
SUBJECT: INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION PRESSED
WITH JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIALS

1. (SBU) On the margins of the Deputy Secretary's April 9
lunch meeting with Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji
Yabunaka, EAP/J raised the international parental child
abduction issue with Yasuhiro Kobe, the Director of the
Office of the Vice Foreign Minister. EAP/J told Kobe that
the Department of State placed the highest priority on the
welfare of children who were victims of international
parental abduction. The Department was particularly
concerned with the Japanese government's unresponsiveness in
cases in which American citizen children had been abducted to
Japan. Japan's family laws, restrictive privacy laws, and
lack of interest in resolving parental abduction cases had
sharply limited our efforts to gain consular and parental
access to the American citizens children. EAP/J praised
Japan for being a signatory to the Hague Conference on
Private International Law, and urged Japan to sign the 1980
Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child
Abduction as a first step to addressing this issue. EAP/J
also explained that the Department had received numerous
Congressional and media inquiries on this issue, and that
Japan's unresponsiveness was damaging Japan's image.

2. (SBU) Kobe said neither he nor VFM Yabunaka were aware of
the issue. Embassy of Japan Management First Secretary Kosei
Murota said the Japanese Embassy in Washington and First
North American Affairs Division were the only Foreign
Ministry offices aware of the issue. Murota said the subject
was particularly difficult for the foreign ministry to
address because the Ministry of Justice had jurisdiction over
these cases. EAP/J reiterated that the Foreign Ministry
could begin by signing the Hague Convention.
RICE

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